CERC Rejects SECI Plea For Adopting Tariffs for 150 MW Rihand Floating Solar Project

CERC Rejects SECI Plea For Adopting Tariffs for 150 MW Rihand Floating Solar Project

The floating solar project at Rihand Dam, where SECI, as the nodal agency had duly completed the auction process to arrive at a price of Rs 3.29 /unit looks set to be further delayed with the central regulator, Central Electricity Regulatory Commission rejecting the tariff adoption plea. The project has been widely touted as India’s largest floating solar project till date.

The rejection by the CERC  to step into the issue, on what is usually considered a mere formality, is a surprise to say the least.

The Rihand floating solar project has been in the pipeline since 2018, when SECI first floated the tender for bids. ReNew Solar Power Private Limited and Shapoorji Pallonji Infrastructure Capital Company Private Limited had emerged as the final successful bidders after due process, with the price of Rs 3.29/unit. Pus SECI’s usual 7 paise trading margin. The project was due to be commissioned in 2021-22.

The CERC’s main grounds for rejection was that the project failed the test of being a ‘composite scheme’, since it envisaged sales to a single buyer (UPPCL) within the state where it is situated. Essentially making it a fit case for the state regulator, we presume. The CERC rejected the contention that all petitioners had arrived at a consensus that the CERC is the right authority, preferring instead to go with a strict reading of the law and relevant acts.

The rejection also means bad news for a supplementary request. That the Petition for adoption of tariff has been filed with substantial delay which may impact the respondents’ ability to achieve financial closure and subsequently on commissioning timeline. Accordingly, it was further requested that SECI be directed to consider the Respondents’ request for seeking time extension for achieving financial closure and Schedule Commercial Operation Date.

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Prasanna Singh

Prasanna has been a media professional for over 20 years. He is the Group Editor of Saur Energy International